Ukraine’s Russian true friends collect money for Ukrainian army

For less than a day a Moscow resident who has recently moved to Odessa collected more than 11,000 UAH in support of Ukrainian army, assisted by her Russian friends. 

“This is very important to show that not all people are crazy in Russia, not all of us have become aggressive idiots”.

With the intensive Kremlin propaganda, effecting people on both sides of Ukrainian-Russian border, it is very easy to forget, that not all Russians hate Ukrainians under the influence of TV and other Russian mass-media.Various anti-war rallies and gatherings in support of Nadiya Savchenko and Oleg Sentsov in Russian cities reveal the truth about what many Russians really feel. Such deeds are warmly welcomed by Ukrainians who know only too well, how difficult it is to stand for truth and freedom in a totalitarian state.

Recent fighting near Maryinka on 3 June, when Russian militants attacked Ukrainian forces, has intensified efforts of Odessa residents, whose 28th light armoured brigade was on the front line during attack and lost 3 servicemen, 26 more were wounded.

But these are not only Ukrainians, who have been gathering funds to buy medications for Odessa 28th brigade. Yulia Zhavoronkova has recently fled from Moscow to Odessa, since it became dangerous for her to stay in Russia because of the active position against Russian-Ukrainian war. Now she is collecting money from her Russian friends to help in buying medication for Ukrainian soldiers. She posted a request to her friends living in Russia less than a day ago on Facebook, and has already collected more than 11,000 UAH.

“We thought we would collect around 1,000-2,000 UAH. But we’ve managed to get more than 10,000 during first 18 hours. People send 1,000-2,000 UAH each, they don’t specify their names, I don’t know, who those people are, the only thing I know about them that they are from Russia”, Yuliya comments on her activity to EMPR with excitement.

She also tells that when she arrived to Odessa, she became a member of the Odessa Self-Defence, because she came to Ukraine to help somehow. But on her question “How can I help?”, she was only offered help in return. That’s why, when she learnt that volunteers in the Odessa Self-Defence HQ were gathering aid for Ukrainian soldiers after Maryinka attack, the first thing she did was to bring a painkiller she had at home to volunteers. Her husband Danila who arrived to Odessa with her also brought some money for Ukrainian army. And then he offered Yuliya to ask her Russian friends for assistance via Facebook. The information has spread fast.

“I have friends in Moscow, including those from the opposition, they have a lot of followers, and I thought they might do something more useful than holding rallies”, Yuliya says. “Perhaps all activists in Moscow have those feeling of despair, when you keep doing something, but it seems to have no result. But this situation is quite different”.

According to Yuliya, there are many places near Moscow metro stations where people gather money for the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, while many Russians simply don’t know how to transfer money to the Ukrainian army: required information is in Ukrainian and money is accepted to Ukrainian bank accounts. “I offered a simple way to transfer money. The information spread very quickly around Facebook. Ukrainians have been donating money for the army for more than one year now, but for many Russians this is something new, that’s why we’ve got such a significant result this first time”.

Yuliya also says that gathering aid for the Ukrainian army makes her feel useful and not only for Ukraine and the Odessa 28th brigade, but for Russia as well: “Ukrainians can see, how many Russians support them, and not only with words. This is very important. This is very important to preserve good relations and to understand that not all people are crazy in Russia, not all of us have become aggressive idiots”.

Aleksandra Demskaya, EMPR.

The publication is also available in Russian.

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